District 7: Andrew Lewis

Historic preservation survey responses by Seattle City Council District 7 candidate Andrew Lewis.

Responses may be lightly edited for clarity and formatting. Please note that Historic Seattle does not endorse candidates for public office.

1. What’s your favorite historic place in Seattle and why do you think it’s important?

I am a little biased, but it is the Delamar, an apartment building in Uptown where I live. Built in 1909 it adds considerable character to the neighborhood and is naturally affordable since the financing has long been paid off on the structure. It is a nationally registered historic place and it is great to live inside a piece of Seattle history.

More broadly, Pike Place Market is one of my absolute favorite places in Seattle. I am proud to be endorsed by Allied Arts and will fight to preserve Seattle’s historic and cultural spaces.

2. How can Seattle accommodate its increase in density while preserving the unique character of its neighborhoods?

As stated above, part of our affordability strategy can be acquiring and protecting historic buildings that often host naturally occurring affordable housing. In some cases, that can involve the acquisition of mid-sized structures in neighborhood business districts that were historically retail or office space, and converting those structures into housing while preserving the overall historic nature of the structure. Additionally, we should incentivize the conversion of beautiful old craftsman homes into duplexes rather than encouraging developers to tear them down and put a 6-pack of townhomes in their place. I have encountered several great examples of subdivided old houses as I doorbell across District 7 that preserve neighborhood character and put affordable rental units on the market. We need to be encouraging that kind of density.

3. The cultural spaces which many people feel define Seattle are increasingly at risk of redevelopment. Do you feel that it is important to preserve these places, and how can we accomplish this?

Yes, we need to preserve our historic spaces, and Seattle used to be a great leader in this. The Pioneer Square Historic District and the Pike Place Market are great examples of historic preservation in the core of the City that preserves a unique identity for Seattle. We need to expand protections for key structures and neighborhoods with unique business districts and cultural spaces to prevent them from being lost forever. We can use those old tools from the days when Allied Arts fought to keep the cultural heart of the city. We have the formula, we just need the courage to use it.

4. How would you strengthen the City’s historic preservation program to ensure continued protection of designated Seattle Landmarks and historic districts?

Work with neighborhood groups to identify appropriate sites for historic preservation. Build common cause with the businesses and residents of those buildings to advocate for extending historic protections, and put economic development funding on the table to get the buildings up to code and functioning. Historic protection will only be as good as our public commitment to contributing the resources to make it economically viable. Buildings with history and character make for great neighborhoods to live and play in, but they can also make our city more appealing for tourism. We cannot lose sight of the multiplier effect of robust historic preservation.

5. What role does historic preservation play in planning and land use beyond designating landmarks and historic districts?

As I said above, it makes us a destination. It puts us on the map and makes Seattle a destination city. We cannot become a city of nothing but glass towers with retail in the bottom… we need something unique to offer.